All his career, Italian guitarist Luca Stricagnoli has been a solo act. He even has a custom three-necked guitar that lets him perform as a one-man band.
That changed in 2017 when he was invited to join the touring roster of International Guitar Night, a travelling guitar revue featuring a changing lineup of musicians from around the world.
Stricagnoli said he was interested in the idea and opportunity to tour North America for the first time. But he still had reservations.
“Playing with other artists, it was almost a little bit scary for me because I was like, ‘OK, so are you telling me we’re going to meet and, in two or three day’s rehearsal, then we’re just going to do the first show?’ I was really not used to it,” Stricagnoli said. “But then it happened and it was so beautiful. It was beautiful not just on a musical level, but also on a human level.”
Stricagnoli is back for the 2019 tour, which kicked off in Alaska earlier this week and comes to Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on Jan. 26. Stricagnoli is joined by Turkish fretless guitarist Cenk Erdogan and French gypsy swing player Antoine Boyer and flamenco guitarist Samuelito. Stricagnoli describes the show as “a way to celebrate cultural differences through music.”
“We are different when it comes to not just our cultural background, but also the way we play,” he said. “So each of us has his own style of playing guitar and each of us can do things that others cannot do.”
When the show begins, the musicians play solo, then gradually perform with each other until ultimately forming a quartet. Stricagnoli said he didn’t know the other musicians before the tour, but since they’ve played some shows together in Europe they’ve developed strong chemistry.
“We met for the first time and we did not really know what to say to each other because we didn’t know much about the others, but across the tour, in a really short time actually, we became like brothers so now we have a very, very close bond,” he said.
Stricagnoli said playing with other musicians has helped him appreciate music’s collaborative side. He said each of the other players have their specialties, with his being his percussive style.
“When I play by myself normally my task is try to play as many parts as possible, like the parts of members of a band such as the drummer or the guitarist, the singer,” he said. “But when I’m part of a quartet, then things change so it’s more important to choose one of the parts and play it even better.”
WHAT’S ON … International Guitar Night comes to the Port Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 for adults, $36 for members and $12.50 for youths and students. Pre-show chat at 6:45 p.m. in the Harmac Room.